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A Tale of Brutal Repression and Extraordinary Resilience

Many have been arbitrarily detained, imprisoned, or forcibly disappeared. Some died while in state custody. Some live with permanent physical ailments and mental trauma as a result of torture by the authorities. Some, after suffering years of unrelenting…
Liu Xiaobo addresses the crowd at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, May 1, 1989.
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Civilians Brutally Treated by Egypt’s Military and ISIS-Affiliate in North Sinai Conflict

  By a Middle East and North Africa Staff Member* When asked why he left Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, “Odeh” could only laugh, then pause. He struggles to answer any question that reminds him of his former life. Then, he told me the…
A woman yells as a neighbor’s house is destroyed. © 2014 Private
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Rohingya Children’s Education Blocked at Every Turn

Some of these children and their families resorted to buying Bangladeshi identity documents as the only way to secure a secondary school education and their future. Now, the authorities are targeting and expelling those students. Government policy is…
Rohingya refugee students demonstrate
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Rohingya Refugee Has Spent 4 Years on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island

He made the journey from Burma by boat to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia, and then to Australia’s Christmas Island. But when his boat reached Australian waters, Australian immigration officials questioned him and transferred him to a detention center…
Refugees and asylum seekers protest against Australia’s offshore processing policy at a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
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It was an October night and the al-Sanabani family was readying to celebrate the wedding of three couples. It was around 9:30 p.m. when Muhammad Jamal Saleh Ghouba al-Sanabani arrived at his relative’s home, where the wedding was to be held, to take part…
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The ancient mud-house city of Saada, under the control of Houthi rebels since 2011, was almost deserted when Belkis Wille arrived in late May to investigate damage caused by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s aerial bombing of Yemen. By…
Walid al-Ibbi survived the May 5, 2015 coalition bombing of his home that killed 27 members of his family.
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Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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Most Yemenis were at home taking their afternoon siesta when Belkis Wille, Human Rights Watch's Yemen researcher, walked into the shop in Haradh for the meeting she had arranged with Nadim. The shop owner, a friend of Nadim’s, took her to the back office…
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Girls Forced to Marry Often Face Physical Health Problems, Lack of Education

  Akech loved to study and dreamed of becoming a nurse. But when she was 14, the uncle who was raising her told her she was too old for school and forced her to marry a man she described as old, gray-haired, and married to another woman with whom he had…
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Maikel Nabil, a 25-year imprisoned for blogging, has been on hunger strike at Marg prison since August 23 to protest his unjust imprisonment. The strike is of extra concern because he has low blood pressure and is taking medication for a heart condition.…
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Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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During the weeks of protests that led to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's downfall, you saw Egyptian men and women standing together, side-by-side in the crowds. Across the Middle East, women have taken to the streets. In Egypt and Tunisia, women…
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Reprint of Liu Xiaobo's chapter in the anthology China's Great Leap (2008)

This essay is a reprint of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo's chapter in the anthology China's Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges, edited by Minky Worden (Seven Stories Press, 2008), pp. 263-272. This text was translated from…
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2009 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with…